Finding Talent, Channel Attribution Among Biggest DM Challenges

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

man-ball-challengesAs the direct marketing world starts to make its way to Chicago for DMA2013, the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference, Chief Marketer asked a number of marketing pros what they thought the biggest challenges are for DMers going into 2014. Here’s what they said.

Jane Buck, director of customer acquisition, Dyn Finding talent. B2B marketers are using marketing automation and there are few out there with a year or two of MA experience.  People who know how to manage a decent volume (40-50 a month) of email campaigns and how to improve opens and clicks are also in high demand.

I am also concerned with a perception I have regarding a generational shift in willingness to pick up the phone and talk.  The sales cycle works when there is a conversation. Email opens are holding constant but phone connections are declining and I predict will continue.

Ron Jacobs, president, Jacobs & Clevenger For me, the greatest challenge going into the future is marketing attribution across the many channels we use.  Clients, correctly, are demanding accurate results.  When we used just a few channels, we were able to accurately measure what our prospects and customers were responding to.

In the multichannel/omnichannel age, we use search, social, email, mail, mobile, online/offline ads, etc.  “Last click” attribution is not the answer.  So, our quest today is to apportion credit across these channels.   Just now, doing this accurately seems like an unsurmountable challenge.

Chris DeMartine, vice president, V12 Group I’m concerned about data integrity and reporting. If the raw data being provided is not correct, then even the best attribution models will fail.

For example, acquisition efforts from a direct response perspective have a high emphasis on open rates (email), CTR (display and email), view-ability (display) and deliverability (email). However, not all service providers are showing integrity with regards to these metrics—this is probably not a foreign concept to most marketers who have done the due diligence.

It’s important to set standards for reporting accuracy, and make sure that the consequences for artificially inflating results are greater than the financial gain associated with deceptive practices. But it’s even more important that conversion tracking trumps front-end response metrics that can be too easily manipulated by other means, human on robotic. At the end of the day, sales matter most from a DR perspective.

Cyndi Greenglass, senior vice president – strategic solutions, Diamond Marketing Solutions The concept behind Big Data is really challenging for marketers. As the proliferation of unstructured data grows, we as marketers run the risk of being overwhelmed by what is not relevant.

In the past, throwing out the outliers ensured a smooth analysis and ability to trend for marketing performance and decision making, Now that Big Data allows us to keep outliers, in fact to keep all data, how do we as marketers stay focused on what is relevant and, and maybe more importantly, how do we differentiate interesting data from truly important data points. Being able to grasp and react to a meaningful data point through the sea of big data could mean true competitive advantage. It is the Matrix realized in real life! 

Ruth P. Stevens, principal,
 Ruth Stevens eMarketing Strategy To me, the big issue is mobile.  As consumers and business people increase their use of smartphones and tablets, marketers need to figure out how to get them to opt in for SMS or autodialed calls, and then develop effective messaging strategies, which is not only a creative matter, but heavily about technology.

Recent data suggests that as much as half of email is being opened/viewed on mobile devices.  And website visits are increasingly through mobile browsers.  But marketers are slow to mobile-enable their sites.  And we still have tons of testing to do to figure out how to engage and persuade through these small screens.  And what are we going to do about telemarketing as younger consumers ditch their landlines and move 100% to mobile phones?

According to the IAB, 74% of US marketers plan to increase their mobile ad spending in the next 2 years.  But we have issues ahead of us.

Grant Johnson, CEO/founder, Johnson Direct It has to be the amount of channels available to marketers today and lack of testing as far as media mix to obtain maximum efficiency. Yes, data is still KING, but the right channel mix has to be QUEEN in today’s world. Social channels, digital (and what types of digital do you use. Static? Animated? Pre-roll video?), email, landing pages, traditional media, more social channels. Testing and more testing is what we should preach in order to lift ROI.

Michael Pruchniewski, manager – partner relations, NetProspex I think marketers will be most challenged with managing their customer data, from clean contact data to complete sales data. As B2B marketing becomes more quantitative, marketers will have to take control of their data to achieve optimal results.

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